Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity

David D. Gilmore, Author
David D. Gilmore, Author Yale University Press $30 (272p) ISBN 978-0-300-04646-5
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
In most societies, asserts anthropologist Gilmore, professor at State University of New York, being accepted as a ``real man'' involves tests of action, proofs of individual worth. For Andalusians of Spain, machismo is earned by procreating offspring and financially providing for dependents. In New Guinea, the village ``Big Man'' is ideal warrior and pillar of social cohesion. Yet some cultures contradict the general rule that manhood is a prize to be won. In India and China, for example, cooperation and deference soften virile, sexist gender roles. And among the gentle, androgynous Polynesian Tahitians or the Semai of Malaysia, the notion of masculinity as a test is virtually absent. In a provocative, rewarding cross-cultural survey, Gilmore concludes that men are not so innately different from women: it takes culturally enforced norms of manhood to prod males into assertiveness. (Apr.)
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